Ghost towns and abandoned mines of the Arizona Desert

So I met a buddy west of Phoenix to do some riding around in the desert to explore cool trails, and some mining history.

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After some awesome riding, we were quickly inside the first mine-shaft.  I was acting like a 4 year-old at Disneyland.  Luckily, Adrian remembered a flashlight, and we walked down into the shaft.IMG_0789

The next mine had implemented security measures to prevent exploration, thieves, and adventurers like us from penetration – the threat was also penetration. IMG_0807 IMG_0808

Needless to say we respected the wishes of the would-be-murderer, and found a more welcoming site the next day.  It was the ghost-town of Swansea, and the well-preserved/restored worker’s cottages from 1908.IMG_0830

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On top of the great riding, history, geology and ruins, we were treated to yet another awesome desert sunset.

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The (not so) Grand Canyon

I hate to be negative about such an extraordinary place, but once again the NPS has prevented my immersion in the real beauty. Once again they have provided a $30 log-flume, giving me just enough “splash” to frustrate me that I cannot swim down the amusement ride. Nevertheless, I came, I saw, I got the obligatory pics…….

I camped just outside the gate in Kaibab NF, so I rolled in the gate before sunrise to get some good light.

I don’t think the light was ever “right” down in the canyon, or there was too much humidity?

I did manage to take a nice hot shower on the south rim, and it got me pumped enough to climb up into the wind for the shot I imagined when I started this journey in August.

Shortly after I got this pic, I filled my water tank, and hauled ass south again, rolling down just south of Sedona, dropping 3,000 feet, and gaining 20 degrees.  Found a nice spot with some sucky, multi-colored hills that look as tho they need exploring.

After I parked, I realized I was sharing my view with a neighbor.  She seemed a little pissed.

She kept giving me “that look”.

The moonrise last night gave me the feeling that this was all too good to be true.  I am much more excited about riding around here than I was about the Grand Canyon.

The Coconino Adventure begins in about 45 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Must……..have……Mo…..

Mo…….Jave………,  Yes I must.  I must have more Mojave, or Mohave, as I have seen it spelled.  The place is awesome.  Found yet another awesome spot called Mojave National Preserve – run by the Park Service, yet accessible?

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Mountains, desert, volcanoes, lava tubes, ghost towns, old mines, easy boondocking, and trails (a few).  Made for a nice couple days in the desert.  First thing, find a place to park.  Mojave Road, the old road used by Indians to trade, worked well as an overnight spot.IMG_0638

Lotsa of surprises nearby.IMG_0643

The next day, found even more surprises.  Inside a cinder cone.

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Outside a lava tube.

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Inside the same lava tube.

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The wonders never end.  Time, cold weather, and the wind are the only factors interfering.

Heart of the Mojave Desert

Yes, I am BACK in California.  Spent the night in Las Vegas, picked up some tires and accessories, then headed south.  Nobody told me south was California?  OK, so here I am in Needles, on old Route 66

I noticed a sign as I turned onto the Interstate – OHHH!!!   More BLM, OK, staying here tonight, changing tires in the morning, riding in the afternoon.  AND…..I am getting 4g internets in the desert – ROCK OUT WITH YER COCK OUT!!!!!

After changing tires, adding a decent mirror, and some small maintenance, I was on my way to conquer some sand…..or not?

Jawbone Canyon & Death Valley

Storms put an end to both, and they also drove me out of California.  Whilst riding up to Death Valley, I noticed a sign just north Mojave, with my favorite emblem on it.

Seeing this little guy anywhere makes me smile.  They usually have the amusements that I prefer.   So I stopped in to say hello in Jawbone Off-Highway Vehicle Open Area.  It was pretty awesome and unexpected, I am very glad I stopped.

Got a great spot to camp/park.

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Up and over the first hill.

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Found a few abandoned mine shafts from the turn of the century.  They all required some rope to get down to the ladder(the 100 year old wooden ladder that continued straight down the hole) very scary stuff.

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Lots of awesome Joshua trees were everywhere.  This grove was next to a mile long pit of DEATH-SAND that was a foot deep.  I struggled with my street tires.

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A cold, wet storm blew us north east, to find the Trona Pinnacles enroute to Death Valley.  The BLM lets you drive THRU their monuments.

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After fun at Pinnacles, we climbed over the mountain into Death Valley.  The storm was blowing sand everywhere, and I could not get out of the vehicle without getting it in my eyes.  The further I got into the park, the more it cleared, but it was still miserable.  I took a few shots, and hauled ass out of the park for refuge in Nevada.

Devil’s Golf Course – very cool salt formations over a foot high.  Notice the mountain in the background is obscured.

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And of course, Badwater Basin – the lowest point in North America (282 feet below seal level) The white marker directly above the front of the bus (3/4 of the way up the rock) points to sea level.

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Refuge in Pahrump, Nv.  What a shithole.

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Video tonight or tomorrow.

 

 

The surprise of Los Padres

How could a National Forest on the Pacific coast suck? By reading the website you might think it was a city park, lame is the word that comes to mind.  They skipped almost all of the awesome.

Oh well, let me help ……..some.

The first night we rolled in the sun was going down, so I stopped at a quiet pull-off where I could unload the bike in the morning

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The next morning I had some coffee and hit Nacimiento Road, and headed into the woods down some awesome FS roads.  Got lost, many times, as the roads ran into private gates.  That evening, Dude and I enjoyed a more prepared sunset with beer/dinner overlooking San Martin Rock, and the Pacific.

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The net morning, yet another Canadian hottie shows up at my camp spot, and we chatted for a bit.  Maybe I will see her in the desert?

Nichole from Canada

The town that never was

!Monterey California.

So awesome infact, I did not take any pics.  I rode down to Carmel on the bike, same thing – so breathtaking I could not figure out how to capture it.  I did speak to Clint Eastwood however.  He hit me in the head with a coffee cup and said “Stay out of my beach community!”

The only evidence I have that I was there.

I will post the GOOD stuff after dinner (Los Padres NF)

Let me be very Pacific

I did not like San Francisco!

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Not that it was not extraordinary, and had lots of things to see and do, it was simply TOO BIG!!  In addition, there was no where to park,  or unload the bike comfortably (so I could explore a bit more).  There is also just too much to see, and I am a simple guy.

So I took a few pics and left :)

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So I headed south on Hiway 1

Nice day of driving, always wanted to do this.

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I then wound my way down the coast to Monterey –  I LOVE THIS TOWN!!

Report tomorrow unless I get kicked out of town.

Lassen Volcanic Sno-Cone

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Upon arriving in Lassen, I found a nice camping spot on a creek just outside the park.  Nice, flat, wide and quiet, as I had planned to do some riding around the park.  The sleet and snow woke me up early, and I decided to six-wheel-it around the park instead.IMG_0277

This is what I found at the ranger station – pay attention the road closure paragraph…..kindy scary.

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Anyway, I wandered up the mountain in search of geologic wonders, and I found some.  This is Crag Chaos – a collapse/explosion that littered the hillside with rock.IMG_0286
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What is left of the mountain can be seen in the distance.IMG_0285

What can be seen surrounding the mountain is White Doom, spelling disaster and the end of my visit.IMG_0284

A snow-shovel passed me at the gate, and I followed him up the mountain.  I thought it odd, but was sure they would close the park if anything was dangerous – right?
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At the top of the hill, I found they simply closed the road.  It seemed like the blizzard in the note.  I turned around after some quick shots – it was thrilling to be in the middle of it, but disconcerting to travel down a mountain that was slick and icy.

So it appears I am headed south to San Francisco – the closest place with decent weather.